2013 Employment Law Update & Reminders

Several employment regulations changed in 2013. Here are highlights and also a few reminders. If you have questions regarding compliance, we are here to help. Contact your HR Matrix representative at 707-526-0877 or Jennifer Scott (ext. 16) for assistance.

1. New Form I-9 – As of May 8, employers are required to use the new Form I-9 when verifying employment eligibility.

2. New Required Employer Postings  - Employers who are subject to the Family Medical Leave Act (e.g., those with over 50 employees) must update employer postings to include:

  • In addition to those currently serving, a “covered servicemember” also includes veterans discharged in the last five years.
  • FMLA definitions of “serious injury or illness” for current servicemembers and veterans “are distinct from the FMLA definition of ‘serious health condition.’”
  • Special hours of service eligibility requirements apply to airline flight crew employees.

We recommend the Cal Chamber all-in-one employer postings, and we can order them for you. Or you can download and post the FMLA poster from the Department of Labor individually, free.

3. Written Commission Agreements – Effective 1/1/13, all employees who earn commissions must be provided a written commission agreement explaining how commissions will be calculated and paid. This applies to new and existing employees.

4. Notice to Employee – This went into effect 1/1/12, but we want to remind employers that non-exempt employees (commonly known as hourly employees) must receive a “Notice to Employee” of hiring terms at time of hire. You may use the DLSE’s form or create your own (e.g., as part of the offer letter) as long as it contains all the DLSE form’s information. If you use two rates of pay, they must both appear on the notice. The notice generally does not apply to union hires. Templates of the forms may be obtained at the DLSE website. Or see the DLSE FAQ for more information.

5. Personnel File Inspection and Copies – Employee rights around personnel files have expanded. Employers must observe the new regulations:

  • Current/former employees and authorized representatives may view and receive copies. You may charge employees for the actual cost of copies made.
  • Access must be provided to all documents (except criminal investigation documents)
  • Access must be provided to documents within 30 days of request
  • Files must be retained by employers for three years after termination (same as payroll files)

6. Affordable Care Act and Benefits – New notice requirements go into effect this year for health insurance. We recommend partnering with your benefits broker to stay current on ACA requirements and the impact on your health insurance benefits.

7. Health Care FSA Limit – Starting with plan year 2013, employee contributions to a Health Care FSA are limited to $2,500 each year. This limit applies on a plan year basis not calendar year.

8. Itemized Wage Statements – Paychecks must contain the following per Labor Code 226: Gross wages, hours worked (omit for salaried employees), hourly rate, piece rate info if applicable (number of pieces and rate), all deductions, net wages, dates of pay period, employee name and last four digits of SSN or an Employee ID#, name and address of legal entity paying wages. Click here for more information.

9. Exempt vs. Non-exempt, continued…A quick tip on a common problem area: In California, a properly classified exempt employee must be “primarily engaged” in exempt level duties, i.e., the employee must spend more than 50% of their weekly work time performing exempt duties. So even if an employee supervises other employees, they still might not qualify as exempt, if they are performing mostly low level duties (e.g., stocking shelves).

10. AB1825 – Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training – Most employers with over 50 employees/contractors in or outside of California are required to conduct two hours of harassment training for their supervisory staff every two years. Also, new supervisors must be trained within six months of hire. The HR Matrix offers both supervisor and harassment training.

11. IRS Mileage rate 2013 – The rate went up to $0.565 per mile on 1/1/13.

12. NLRB Poster Requirement – postponed – A rule that was supposed to take effect April 30, 2012, requiring most U.S. employers to post a notice of employees’ rights has been blocked by a federal circuit court after a determination that the issuing agency lacked authority to approve the rule. No required posting date has been determined.

There are other changes that don’t affect most employers or are just notice changes. For a complete list, see the HR CA list.

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